September 2019 Message from AmCham CEO undefined
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September 2019
Message from AmCham CEO April Palmerlee

As many AmCham members prepare to travel to Washington DC where President Trump will honour Prime Minister Morrison with an official state visit, AmCham Australia has been busy here at home also. We have had a jam-packed month with a wide variety of events that support and showcase our member companies.


In Perth, General Manager Penelope Williamson has been working with The Hon. Bill Johnston MLA, Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy, to organise an exceptional visit to Houston for her delegation to attend Gastech. This year’s conference promotes the future of energy with a focus on innovation, technology and the strengthening of the global value chain. With more than two decades of AmCham delegation experience, Penelope creates opportunities for AmCham members to sign contracts for new jobs, investment, and trade, as well as make great personal contacts that build future opportunities.

In Melbourne, General Manager Ray Doyle led a group of members on an all-day tour of some of the most exciting member companies in Victoria. The delegation visited the GM Holden Design Centre and saw the production design, advanced design, and concept cars for GM Global vehicle programs; Anthony Pratt’s cogeneration plant and paper mill at Visy Industries; and LaTrobe University to hear about world class research and teaching expertise in the Agri-Sciences, Food and Health & Wellbeing sectors. The group also experienced the latest in technology as Two Bulls showcased its AR drones, VR in paediatrics, and more (see to read about Two Bulls’ recent industry award). Melbourne also hosted visiting US politics expert Steve Okun, Chairman of APAC Advisors, to discuss the US-China trade tensions.

In Adelaide, General Manager Rasa Buckley showcased the rapidly expanding defence and security sector at a major business luncheon. The speakers included former Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne, Naval Shipbuilding Institute CEO Ian Irving, BAE Future Business Chief Chris Keane, and Defence SA Executive Director Julie La Rosa. They discussed Australia’s military and security expansion – the largest in our peacetime history – and how South Australia is front and centre with the naval shipbuilding contracts, submarines, land missiles and focus on cyber security. At this event, Minister David Ridgway announced the new US Trade office based in Houston, Texas. Separately, at the Adelaide Business School luncheon, Jim McDowell, Chief Executive, launched “Growth State” a new policy by the Department of Premier and Cabinet to energise economic growth in South Australia. The luncheon also featured Jim Whalley, Chief Entrepreneur; and The Right Hon Lord Mayor of Adelaide Sandy Verschoor. To watch the highlights, please visit .

In Brisbane, General Manager Alicia Doherty showcased how expected increases in infrastructure projects around the world, to accommodate growing populations and increased urbanisation, may come at a significant impact to the natural environment requiring innovative products and new techniques to build more sustainably. Lendlease Building CEO Dale Connor, Infrastructure Australia Chair Julieanne Alroe, Rock Trade Industries Manager Greg Lennox, and UQ Business School Lecturer Dr Belinda Wade discussed the need to balance the potential gains from introducing innovative solutions with offsetting the risks or unexpected consequences. AmCham Queensland also organised a networker and a breakfast for Austrade CEO Stephanie Fahey, hosted by Suncorp.

In Sydney, General Manager Doug Grant took the lead on coordinating a multi-chamber luncheon for NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who not only addressed the 600 guests, but also engaged in an unscripted conversation with Sky News’ Ticky Fullerton. In the past month AmCham NSW/ACT has also hosted US Ambassador A.B. Culvahouse Jr; The Hon Arthur Sinodinos; Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe; and a property lunch with the Federal Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer The Hon Michael Sukkar, Lendlease’s Kylie Rampa, Property Council of Australia’s Jane Fitzgerald, and Western City & Aerotropolis Authority’s Troy Harvey. In addition, Sydney saw a visit by the Governor of Missouri Mike Parson and his trade delegation; an all-day innovation mission; a Health Committee Doorknock at NSW Parliament; a cocktail networker; a Diversity and Inclusion Master Class organised by National D&I Chair Div Pillay; and a Congressional Delegation led by Senator Jerry Moran and four other senior US Senators and their staff.

The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian NSW Premier

Ticky Fullerton Sky News

Senator The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO

US Ambassador Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr.

(2nd and 3rd from the left)

Over the ditch, the Kiwis have been kicking goals, too. I’d like to commend AmCham NZ Executive Director Mike Hearn on the 2019 AmCham-DHL Success & Innovation Awards in Auckland. I was pleased to join US Deputy Chief of Mission Kevin Covert, Consul General Katelyn Choe, and AmCham NZ President Mike Smith (MD of IBM NZ) as awards were presented to leaders from companies producing everything from rockets to gourmet pet food, solid shampoo bars to the world’s best butter and Caterpillar tractors for the Antarctic. It was gratifying to see AmCham Australia members like Laureate University’s Linda Brown, United Airlines’ Julie Reed, and USGlobalTax's Tony Eaton supporting this outstanding annual gala. Congratulations to Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck who won the Supreme Award.

Kevin Covert, Deputy Chief of Mission

US Embassy Wellington

Peter Beck, Founder

Rocket Lab

In the months ahead, we are looking forward to offering equally rewarding and beneficial activities for our members. No matter where you live and work, remember to take a look at our upcoming National Events: (16 October in Melbourne), (6 November in Sydney) and the (7 November in Brisbane). And remember to consider the 2020 AmCham Academy, now being offered in all five states where we operate. AmCham member company CEOs can nominate their rising stars to take part in this year-long global leadership course.


And make sure you scroll down to see the feature on US Consul General for NSW/QLD Sharon Hudson-Dean as well as some exciting news about Melbourne- and New York-based AmCham member Two Bulls. Let me know who else you’d like to see profiled in the months ahead!


Thank you for your ongoing support,

April Palmerlee, Chief Executive Officer

American Chamber of Commerce in Australia


P 02 8031 9000

A warm welcome to our newest members

I’m delighted to welcome these new members and here are links to their websites:

Upcoming Events


Breakfast Briefing with Cochlear CEO Dig Howitt

Keynote Speaker:

Dig Howitt, Chief Executive Officer



Cochlear is a world leader in its field - the hearing device market, with more than 550,000 implantable devices carrying their brand name worldwide.


Their 40-year success is a function of their long term approach to high volume investment in collaborative technical and clinical research, with more than $160million injected annually into research and development of its products.


Advances of innovative fully implantable designs and trends in aging populations should provide a growing market for their products, and Cochlear CEO Dig Howitt will present his agenda for continued development of products to drive growth in global markets.


Moderated by Professor Roy Green, Special Advisor and Chair for UTS Innovation Council, University of Technology Sydney.


Tuesday 24 September 2019

7.30am - 9.30am



Baker McKenzie





AmCham Industry Series: Building a Creative Economy

Panel of Speakers:

  • Kate Croser, Chief Executive Officer, SA Film Corporation
  • Cabral Rock, Executive Producer, Mill Film
  • Rachelle Gibson, Director of Marketing & Industry Partnerships, Ausfilm
  • Anna Vincent, Film Producer (I am Mother) and Co-Founder, Southern Light Alliance

The Creative economy is big business and South Australia is well placed to continue to attract a greater percentage of domestic and foreign production. This inward investment builds our local economy, not only directly with jobs in the screen industry but spending flows out of the sector into related industries and it exposes nascent film production to new production methods with large budget and technically complex feature films.


South Australia has been growing this film capability with an increased number of Australian and international features and TV series including “Storm Boy”, “Hotel Mumbai”, “I am Mother”, “Wolf Creek” and now “Mortal Kombat”.


Hear from our speakers on the value of this sector to drive economic growth, attract a skilled and dynamic population and drive new technological infrastructure.



Friday 27 September 2019

11.45am - 2pm



Adelaide Convention Centre



DW Fox Tucker Lawyers | Global Intertrade | Iocane | Hospital Research Foundation | Flinders University | PwC


Future of Energy: Battery Building Industries

Keynote Speaker:

Stedman Ellis, Chief Executive Officer

Future Battery Industries CRC


The rapid shift to a renewable energy future is driving a global battery boom never seen before. In a world with wind power and solar photovoltaics at centre stage, storage technologies will be a cornerstone of future electricity systems and must keep up with the pace of change.


Join AmCham to hear from Stedman Ellis, Chief Executive Officer for the Future Battery Industries CRC to hear how Australia and in particular WA, can play a leading role in developing innovative solutions to energy storage and how your business can benefit from this new industry.


With Australia’s resource-rich lands, industry leadership and research strengths, our country is well placed to play a leading role in developing innovative solutions for how energy is stored and deployed into the future and WA will be at the centre of the national plan to refine, manufacture and supply materials and components for these batteries as the home of a new R&D consortium of approx 60 industry, academic and government partners tasked with supporting the nation’s response to these emerging new industries.


Friday 18 October 2019

12pm - 2pm



Parmelita Hilton Perth



If you're interested in finding out more about the sponsorship opportunities available at this event, please contact the office.


CSR Gala Dinner 2019

On Thursday 7 November 2019 at The W Brisbane, AmCham is hosting our inaugural Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Gala Dinner with our Presenting Partner, The University of Queensland, to celebrate our Members and their outstanding contributions to society and business through their CSR initiatives.


This exclusive evening will highlight the CSR initiatives and achievements of AmCham Members. Amongst the event guests will be distinguished leaders from government, the business community and leading global firms.


What is the purpose of your CSR initiatives, and why do you do them? Who benefits from what you are doing and why should other companies embrace CSR practices?


Become a sponsor, book a table and mingle with other business leaders for an enjoyable evening of learning innovative ways to incorporate CSR into your own organisation while celebrating the achievements of the AmCham business community at large.


Thursday 7 November 2019

7pm - 11pm



W Brisbane



The University of Queensland


Technological Innovation in Transport Panel Briefing

Panel of Speakers:

  • Raghav Sibal, Managing Director, Australia & New Zealand, Manhattan Associates
  • Michael Dyson, Managing Director, ANZ & SE Asia, SOTI
  • Royston Phua, Senior Advisor - Vertical Marketing Strategy - Asia Pacific Supply Chains, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific

With the large successes of e-commerce behemoth Amazon, e-commerce has transformed the marketplace and the way consumers view transactions. This new period of virtual service has given consumers the advantage of access to more products than ever before. The transport and logistics industry has evolved and adapted alongside the trends in e-commerce. Innovations in the industry have ushered in a new era of technology to promote efficiency, safety and security whilst remaining conscientious of environmental impact. As the e-commerce world is rapidly changing, being able to stay competitive and proactive as trends evolve will separate industry leaders in the years to come.


Wednesday 30 October 2019

12pm - 2pm



The Hotel Windsor



Zebra Technologies | Manhattan Associates | SOTI

U.S. Consul General Sharon Hudson-Dean


What was your childhood dream job?


Anything international – when I was in the 4th grade, my parents took us on a trip to Germany to visit my father’s army buddy in Berlin. It was the first international trip for the entire family, and I loved every minute. I didn’t sleep at all on the plane and still remember the movie we all watched on those old fashioned overhead screens: a Cold War spy thriller called “Telefon” starring Charles Bronson and Lee Remick. While there, we crossed Checkpoint Charlie and spent a day in East Berlin (this was the in late 1970s), which was an incredible experience. After that trip, I knew working overseas with lots of travel was the life for me.


What is your favourite movie?


The Grand Budapest Hotel (and all other Wes Anderson films). I love the design-conscious way in which each scene is painstakingly laid out to be campy but also realistic to the place and time period. The Grand Budapest Hotel brings together elements of old Europe and the Eastern Bloc, the humour of Mel Brooks and Hogan’s Heroes, and a truly great cast. My new cell phone cover is “Boy with Apple” - you will have to watch the movie to get the reference.


If you had a superpower, what would it be?


Stopping time to give myself more opportunity for reading. I feel I am always a better person when I’m reading a great novel (top recent recommendations are Fates and Furies, A Gentleman in Moscow and Song of Achilles), and I have a fantastic stack of non-fiction on my bedside table that is getting dangerously high. I’ve always loved being in book clubs because I read differently for - and get much more out of - a book after a discussion. Currently, I am leading a professional development book club for our Consulate staff. It’s entirely voluntary and the group has agreed on a list for several months to come covering US and global foreign policy, Australian history and politics, and diplomatic memoirs. We’ve succeeded in arranging for two authors to speak to our club about their books. Our current list includes The Back Channel, Australia Day, and The Lessons of Tragedy. So many books to read and so little spare time…at least summer is on the way.


What is the most rewarding part about your job?


Representing my country to a wide array of foreign governments and people, from Australia to eastern Europe, southern Africa, and South Asia. I most enjoy meeting foreigners from all professions, walks of life, and age groups, and then being able to answer questions about my country, especially highlighting our values, history, and foreign policy goals.


Most rewarding of all has been coming back to Sydney where I started with my very first assignment in the mid-1990s. Whether in business, military or diplomacy, our nations have been investing in this important relationship by sending young professionals to work on the other side of the Pacific, knowing that they will build friendships and understanding to promote US-Australian ties throughout their careers. Nothing better illustrates the close relationship between us, and that our commitment to each other continues to grow stronger and more complex in a positive, integrated way over the years – something I am thrilled to be a part of.


What is your proudest moment so far?


As Charge d’Affaires a.i. in Riga, Latvia in 2015, I was asked to speak at the 25th anniversary of the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia. That’s a real mouthful but what it means is the commemoration of the day on which Latvia re-declared its independence in the waning days of the Soviet Union. For a nation that suffered tremendously under Soviet rule, this was the culmination of many acts of bravery calling for sovereignty, which grew into a mass movement by 1989-90.


The celebration was held in the Latvian National Theatre because that is where the first Parliament of newly independent Latvia originally met in 1918. Every seat was full that day in 2015 -- the President, the full government and Parliament were there, along with the State Radio and TV choir and orchestra, and religious and student leaders; and it was broadcast on live TV countrywide. The only foreigners invited to speak that day were the Speakers of the Estonian, Lithuanian, and Icelandic Parliaments, and myself as the representative of the United States of America. The Icelanders spoke because Iceland was the first country to recognize independent Latvia in 1991. And the United States was there because we never recognized Latvia as a part of the Soviet Union. The U.S. State Department issued a statement – essentially a press release – in 1940, written by Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles, which condemned the occupation by the Soviet Union of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and refused to recognize their annexation as Soviet Republics. To this day, the “Welles Declaration” is honoured and remembered in the Baltics as leading the world in keeping alive the concept of their nations as independent, sovereign states. Speaking on behalf of the government of the United States of America that day was truly powerful and drove home the essential values of freedom, statecraft, and a well-written media statement.


What is the best advice you ever received?


“Don’t make other people’s minds up for them” – meaning do not be self-defeating, but rather always focus on what you determine is the best course of action, justify your approach, and move forward. I think this approach to life and work is something very important to instill in our children and all employees. It can be very hard to put yourself out there in front of a group or a decision maker, but I am constantly pushing my 13-year-old daughters to raise their hands in class and to approach the teachers with concrete ideas and reasoned arguments. Similarly, I want all of our Consulate employees to feel that they have ownership of the success of our operation and an open door for presenting a new idea or better approach. Not all ideas will be accepted, but they should be put on the table with a good explanation and given a thoughtful review by policymakers. Ironically, this was a piece of advice given to me by one of my first bosses when I worked at the U.S. Consulate in Sydney in the mid-1990s. I was probably the junior-most American employee in the whole Mission at that time – and I have never forgotten these words of wisdom.

Two Bulls


WEYO and Two Bulls Win National iAward 2018


Australian tech startup Weyo in partnership with digital product studio Two Bulls, were named winners at the iAwards 2019 in the Consumer Market category for ‘The Wiggles - Fun Times with Faces’ children's app. The AIIA iAwards is the nation’s leading awards program that helps to recognise, celebrate and elevate home grown Australian tech innovation.


Weyo set out to change the way kids engage with digital content. By partnering with Two Bulls,


Weyo have developed a world-first interactive platform that seamlessly integrates video content with cutting-edge Augmented Reality games and experiences.


The Wiggles - Fun Time With Faces is the first public release of the Weyo technology, and has been a smash hit with kids and families globally, having been featured multiple times by Apple as ‘App of the Day’ and hitting #1 on the Kids and Entertainment charts in App Stores around the world.


Weyo places the child at the centre of the digital experience. Kids become their favourite characters from The Wiggles, by creating their own personalised videos of smash hits such as “The Hot Potato” and “Big Red Car” with the opportunity for friends and family to join in the fun.


“Changing the way kids engage with Digital is why we created Weyo. Receiving the recognition as a national winner of the iAwards is a testament to our vision.” says Baz Palmer, co-founder of Weyo who moonlights as lead guitarist of legendary Australian rock band Hunters & Collectors.


“We love to build products with companies like Weyo. To have the opportunity to engage with kids in positive ways and bring families together is in our DNA” says Joey Egger, Managing Director at Two Bulls, a Sesame Workshop veteran.


On the back of the success of The Wiggles, Weyo is now partnering with the world’s leading and most respected children's brands, to launch a range of new Weyo experiences that have global reach and potential.

Premium Network News

Virgin Australia and Delta Airlines

AmCham's 2019 Official Travel Partner


DELTA Raising the Bar


Delta is raising the bar for Main cabin on its International routes from November 5. Those travelling from Sydney to Los Angeles will experience a welcome bellini cocktail service and new “bistro-style" meal service which will offer upgraded appetizers and main meals that can be mixed and matched from a refreshed menu, with new dinnerware and cutlery. Plus, a hot towel service at each end of the journey and chocolate on descent...




Australian Cyber Week 2019


AustCyber is excited to be coordinating Australian Cyber Week 2019. This is AustCyber’s third annual showcase of their vibrant and dynamic national cyber security sector, and is being held from 7-11 October 2019, with Stay Smart Online Week and during International Cyber Security Awareness Month...



Lendlease Engineering secures the major earthworks contract at Western Sydney Airport


Lendlease Engineering, together with its Joint Venture Partner CPB Contractors, has been awarded the $644 million contract to undertake the major bulk earthworks package at Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport...


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